Who is accountable for the water quality crisis?

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Who is to blame for the water quality crisis and who is responsible for ending it?

Right now, your state leaders running for Senate are pointing fingers, blaming the other for not taking charge.

After three months of fishing chunks of algae out of his canal, one Southwest Florida resident is disgusted with his elected officials.

Peter Formica has pleaded with government officials for help and is even developing his own pump system.

“These guys are all dropping the ball on something that could be devastating health-wise, the economy, and everything like that,” Formica said. “They gotta do something about it because it’s going to ruin Florida.”

Both Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Bill Nelson have repeatedly blamed each other for the quality of our water.

So who is really responsible?

Dr. Darren Rumbold worked for the South Florida Water Management District for nine years and he now teaches at FGCU.

He says keeping the water clean is the state’s job.

“A number of state agencies are responsible to work together,” Rumbold said.

It’s also true the Federal Army Corps of Engineers has to release water from Lake Okeechobee to protect the fragile dike around the lake.

Those water releases can trigger algal blooms.

“There is actually a schedule about under these conditions, under the stage in the lake and downstream where to route that water,” Rumbold said.

But he also says that even though the federal government may release the water, the biggest problem is loose enforcement of state rules regarding nutrient run-off.

“They just haven’t been hitting those targets,” he said. “And we need to go back and re-double our efforts to make sure we start making improvements so that we can reduce the nutrients flowing into the lake.”

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